Stems densely tufted and extensively branched, forming mats, often of considerable extent, pubescent or nearly smooth. Leaves linear-lanceolate, one-third to 1 inch long, stiff and clustered at the nodes of the stems, their margins ciliate. Flowers on slender stalks, clustered in simple few-flowered cymes; calyx teeth about as long as the calyx tube; corolla pink, purplish with a darker eye, or sometimes white, about one-half to two-thirds of an inch broad, the five lobes of the corolla entire or often slightly indented at the apex.
Memoir 15 N. Y. State Museum
Ground Or Moss Pink - Phlox subulata
The Wild Sweet William (Phlox maculata Linnaeus) is found wild from southern New York southward, and frequently escaped from cultivation farther northward. Its stems are usually spotted with purple; leaves lanceolate or the upper ones ovate-lanceolate; flowers pink or purple, rarely white, in compact clusters forming a many-flowered terminal inflorescence, 4 to 10 inches long. A race with white flowers and unspotted stems is known as Phlox maculata var. Candida Michaux (P. suaveolens Aiton).
The Downy or Prairie Phlox (Phlox p i 1 o s a Linnaeus) occurs rather locally in New York. It is softly hairy with linear or lanceolate, long-pointed leaves and pink, purple or white flowers forming a terminal cluster.